Trading Places: Faithful Job and Doubtful Autolycus in Theophilus’ Apology

Bibliographic information:

Parsons, Stuart E. “Trading Places: Faithful Job and Doubtful Autolycus in Theophilus’ Apology” In Papers presented at the Seventeenth International Conference on Patristic Studies held in Oxford 2015, Studia Patristica 93, ed. Markus Vinzent, 191−98. Leuven: Peeters.



Where on the one hand, Elihu put Job into the shoes of a doubting mocker for justifying himself but not God, on the other hand, Theophilus of Antioch put his doubting friend Autolycus into Job’s shoes. When Autolycus demanded to see God, Theophilus knew he had ready-made answers in the Lord’s speech to Job. But we fail to see how deeply Job shaped Theophilus’ argument if we only consider full- and partial-biblical quotations. We simply must look beyond the blinders of our own highly-literate, document-rich, modern culture with its demand for exact quotation. To take seriously the largely-oral environment of second-century Antioch (while acknowledging that Theophilus himself was literate), we must go further and learn from intertextuality theory about literary echoes and reminiscences, the stuff of a highly-oral culture.


Leuven: Peeters (website:

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